EDITORIAL/Lake Warnock on holding water
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 1:00 PM
Madison County's Lake to Nowhere has a bigger cloud of mystery hanging overhead following a poor attempt by County Engineer Rudy Warnock to explain overruns Monday night before the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Warnock, normally cool and collected each meeting, is no stranger to criticism. However, Monday night he appeared unsettled, taking jabs at the press and even at District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen. At one point he asked if Steen had P.E. or Professional Engineer after his name. That was one of the least professional things any county employee could say to a sitting supervisor.
Mr. Warnock for a moment appeared as if he were going to shine sunlight and be fully transparent with regard to the $1.5 million Sulphur Springs Park under construction in rural northern Madison County.
At issue is the soil test or tests - which may or may not have revealed the tons of sand the county is now having to remove from the lakebed itself. Mr. Warnock's presentation left several questions:
1.) He never gave supervisors a copy of a report supposedly done in 2011 that showed sand. He didn't even mention it. He only gave a report dated Aug. 6, 2014. That report, he says, was authorized in late June.
So what's in the 2011 report - if it even exists? Why when giving a timeline of events would the 2011 report not be included?
2.) Mr. Warnock surprised some supervisors Monday with news of a 14-month battle with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over environmental issues.
This was the first word ever said in an open meeting about the Corps. Not even when the board voted to move forward with $1.5 million in loans did Mr. Warnock say in public that there was this year-long issue with the Corps.
Mr. Warnock was of course paid $199,000 to resolve those Corps issues.
3.) What will the final cost of the lake be? Mr. Warnock is supposed to put together a progress report with a projected final cost. He'll be adding up to 20 percent contingency on top of that.
What's emerging is clearer picture of the blatant authorized waste that's occurring on a normal basis in Madison County.
Remember the $1.2 million airport study? And there was the failed Reunion interchange.
Just months after raising taxes, this boondoggle lake got the green light. Nearly $750,000 in scheduled road work was cancelled to pay for this boondoggle lake that may cost $5 million before it's done.
While this boondoggle lake may literally hold water, accountability rests with the Board of Supervisors which authorized it.